PHL launches tool for reducing losses, managing economic impacts of disasters

MANILA-- The government has launched the socioeconomic resilience assessment methodology meant to equip the country with the appropriate tools for reducing losses and managing the fiscal impacts of disasters crucial in preventing poverty and achieving economic growth.

The Philippines is the first among the 117 countries to customize the socioeconomic resilience methodology.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia on Tuesday underscored the impacts of disasters on the economy and people's lives.

Pernia cited data indicating the cumulative impact of past disasters to the economy was estimated at 0.5 to 0.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) annually, which may reduce economic growth by 0.3 to 0.4 percentage points.

He said catastrophe risk modeling also shows that the long-term average losses from disasters amount to about PHP206 billion per year.

Pernia, also the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director general, added that increases in school drop-out rates, mental and psychological issues, outbreak of communicable diseases and malnutrition could be seen following disasters.

"Now, it is important to remind ourselves that while we are exposed to natural hazards, we can actually avoid disasters. What turns potential hazards into disasters is poor planning. Thus, we need to get better at disaster prevention, preparedness, and mitigation," he said.

Pernia further said the socioeconomic resilience methodology will be used to identify the appropriate geographic focus of interventions and policy and investment priorities aimed at addressing the challenge of disaster risk reduction and management.

He added the results of the resilience assessment will be used to update the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) wherever applicable.

The NEDA Board chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte approved the PDP 2017 to 2022 last Feb. 20.

Pernia said the NEDA and the World Bank are co-developing the Socioeconomic Resilience Assessment Methodology, which is based on the analytical framework of the new World Bank report called "Unbreakable."

Source: Philippines News Agency

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